Connecting to nature

Oh, R.R.Y., Fielding, K.S., Chang, C.C., Nghiem, L.T.P., Tan, C.L.Y., Quazi, S.A., Shanahan, D.F., Gaston, K.J., Carrasco, R.T.L. & Fuller, R.A. 2021. Health and wellbeing benefits from nature experiences in Singapore may depend on strength of connection to nature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 181, 10149.

A growing number of policies and programmes in cities aim to increase the time people spend in nature for the health and wellbeing benefits delivered by such interactions. Yet, there is little research investigating the extent to which, and for whom, nature experiences deliver such benefits outside Europe, North America, and Australia. Here, we assessed the relationships between nature dose (frequency, duration, and intensity) and three mental wellbeing (depression, stress, and anxiety) and two physical health (high blood pressure, diabetes) outcomes in Singapore, an intensely urbanised tropical city. Our analyses accounted for individual factors, including socio-economic status, nature connection (nature relatedness), and whether people with poor health are prevented by their condition from visiting green spaces. Our results show that the association between nature dose (specifically duration) and mental wellbeing is moderated by a nature connection. Specifically, people with a stronger nature connection were less likely to be depressed, stressed, and anxious, regardless of the duration of their nature dose. For those with a weaker connection to nature, spending longer in nature was associated with being more depressed, stressed, and anxious. We did not find a relationship between nature dose and high blood pressure or diabetes. Our results highlight that the relationship between nature dose and wellbeing might vary substantially among cities.